“Whatever it is that you write, putting words on the page is a form of therapy that doesn’t cost a dime.” – Diana Raab
A few weeks ago, gearing up for our recent move, I opened another decorative storage bin to inspect its contents, expecting to declutter of something that no longer served a purpose in my life. Inside, I happened upon a bag of letters, handwritten notes, most of which were written to my husband when we were dating. I like to think that someday I’ll put them into a notebook, each page protected, or the letters will find their way into an autobiography once I’m a famous author. Fell out of the bag, one letter, dated June 17, 2003 – the summer before my senior year of high school.
In the beginning, the letter reads like a diary entry, recapping things that have happened since I last wrote to him. I turned to my son and explained that since this was before the days of cell phones, I wrote about missing hearing his voice every night. But what I wrote next struck me by surprise.
I came to the conclusion, in the letter, that speaking with him every night helped me discuss my thoughts and feelings with someone. I recalled the summer prior when we weren’t dating and I had no once else to speak with and how that summer was depressing.
The word “depression” made my heart stop.
I don’t remember feelings of depression growing up, only as an adult after having kids. Yet, there I was, 17 years old, telling my boyfriend (now husband) that I expected to be depressed by the end of our two, long weeks apart.
I don’t believe in coincidence. There were hundreds of letters in that bag and out of all those letters, that one fell out. Seeing as though I have been struggling again lately with not having people around to talk to during the day (read about how I was let go from my job), reading that letter was a much needed reminder that I need to a) stop over thinking and b) get my thoughts out (verbally or journaling or blogging).
I know that my mind has been on overdrive. I think I’ve always been that way (according to 17 year old me), but it gets worse when I’m not around other adults. I have conversations in my mind and jump from thought to thought related to things I have to do. This habit is so destructive! Therefore, in order to prevent myself from spiraling back into the depressed state I was in just a few months ago, I must be proactive.
While getting let go was what initially triggered this depression, as the weeks passed and May rolled around, I found myself feeling nearly as down as this time last year when I was home with my kids, raising them while my husband was out of state. Hence, I now suspect this runs deeper than just a single incident of getting my feelings hurt and I’ve begun looking into my health (specifically, gynecological, but more on that in a different post).
For now, I’ve been doing what a friend told me: “Be kind to yourself.” I’m not beating myself up anymore for my bad days and I’m showering myself with grace during this stage of my life. I will say that I have emotional swings, so sometimes I’m okay and other times I don’t want to be around anyone. And I’m okay with that.
I’m accepting it for what is and I’m taking steps to improve it the best way I can at the moment. Part of what I’ve been doing includes seeing a chiropractor and nutritionist. I would also like to start seeing someone specialized in Chinese Medicine, specifically acupuncture.
In recent months, I’ve meditated a few times, but never consistently. Recently, while feeling overwhelmed with my thoughts and wanting to run from my feelings, I wondered if there were guided meditations specifically for people suffering with depression. Thanks to Google, I found an app that has not only that type of meditation, but ones for several life topics. I chose to sit through one for depression and I cried my heart (as expected). I felt much calmer afterwards.
Another thing that helps a lot (when my mind is clear enough for it), is writing. Just know that when there is a big gap between posts, it’s not because I don’t want to write. It’s because I’m not in the right head space to create.
Depression as an Entrepreneurial Trait
According to an article I read on Inc.com titled The Psychological Price of Entrepreneurship, I might just be wired to feel like this. Physiatrist and former entrepreneur, Michael A. Freeman, says, “People who are on the energetic, motivated, and creative side are both more likely to be entrepreneurial and more likely to have strong emotional states.” The article goes on to explain that “those states may include depression, despair, hopelessness, worthlessness, loss of motivation, and suicidal thinking.” I found that information intriguing.
Honestly, with everything going on in my life right now, including running a business, finding that letter (and later that article) really helped me piece together a few things and refocus my attention to taking things one day at a time. Because, in truth, the only moment I have control of is the one right now anyway. The past is finished and the future hasn’t happened.
I am hopeful things will improve since I am being proactive, staying alert to my symptoms and taking time out to silence my mind. Living one moment at a time is the only way to positively move forward.
Do you have any stories to share about your experiences with depression?